ARUMC, UMCOR Announce 2020 Disaster Response Academy

contributed by Janice Mann, Disaster Response Coordinator

Arkansas Conference/UMCOR Disaster Response Academy
This conference-wide mega training event is for anyone wanting to help build capacity for Arkansas United Methodists’ response to disaster events. The academy focuses on being prepared to help because disasters don’t schedule appointments. Attendees will spend 12 p.m. Wednesday through 12 p.m. Saturday with UMCOR staff and consultants, conference leadership and others in training and discussion. We will dive deep into the areas that frame all disaster ministries while affirming or enhancing how our conference prepares for, responds to, and recovers from disasters.

What if disaster response is a way to transform the world for Jesus Christ? Central to the goal of this academy is our desire to grow and enhance the ministry of disaster response for the transformation of Arkansas and beyond. Come prepared to learn, to better understand how disaster response ministry works, and to make the work of our local churches, districts, and the conference in disaster response even better!

Your presence at Trinity UMC the last week in January is critical! Please register early at:

AR River Flood Update
The transition from relief to recovery has been daunting after the AR River Flood. There is a wide range of situations in the different areas affected along the river. Long Term Recovery Groups are up and working in the AR/OK River Valley area (six affected counties) and in Pulaski County. The other areas are on hold or struggling for various reasons. We have developed a Plan B and a Plan C to continue the recovery effort in those areas. Four United Methodist case managers are sharing two full-time positions to cover 3.5 of five affected areas. There are two additional case managers working in partnership with them to cover the other 1.5. Unmet needs are being identified and resources allocated to meet those needs through the case management process.

All this is made possible through donations to the conference and UMCOR after the flood. UMCOR has provided two grants after the flood to support the recovery efforts. Two additional grants were received by the Arkansas Conference as a trusted partner, one of which is designated for use in the four counties affected in Southeast AR. Current river flood recovery work projects include a rebuild in Perry and a replacement that needs access porches and steps in Houston. We are seeking volunteers to help with these two projects. As more projects are ready we will announce the volunteer needs through email and Facebook posts as well as conference communications.

Other Updates
A roof has been replaced on a home in Sebastian County after the tornado there back in the spring.

Two Boone County tornado home replacements have been built. We have had teams and partners working there. The Jefferson County tornado and Marion County tornado projects have closed with all identified needs met. Flash flooding has affected Crawford, Sebastian and Hempstead Counties since the River flood. One replacement home has been provided in Hempstead and there are three open cases in Crawford/Sebastian.

Current In-Conference projects:
Recovery efforts are ongoing after several disaster events across the state.
ECHO Village – construction of homes and facilities, Eureka Springs.

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